The garbage collection day for some South Lafayette residents may be changing as Republic Services struggles to keep up with growth.
The company, which has a contract to collect residential garbage and yard waste in the city of Lafayette and unincorporated areas, has been falling behind in recent months.
Lafayette Consolidated Government is fining the company $3,000 for recent missed collections, among the highest fines ever issued, Public Works Director Kevin Blanchard said.
The contract allows LCG to assess a $25 fine per day for every address where the company misses its regular garbage collection day, he said.
South Lafayette, which has experienced a growth spurt, is a particular problem for Republic Services.
When the company entered a contract with LCG, the parish was divided into five equal areas, one each for Monday through Friday. Since that system was established, South Lafayette has experienced rapid growth, so crews have a lot more stops to make on Fridays, Blanchard said.
“We asked and they agreed to try to draw up a new Friday route to make that route smaller and more manageable,” Blanchard said.
That will mean some residents’ garbage collection day may be changed in a month or two, but residents will be given plenty of notice, he said.
March and early April have been particularly problematic. At times, Blanchard said he received several dozen complaints from residents about their garbage not being collected. That was down to 10 or 11 Thursday, he said.
When a resident reports their garbage wasn’t picked up, a public works employee has to visit the address and take photos to document the incident, Blanchard said. Public works contacts Republic Services, giving them 24 hours from notification to collect the garbage. After 24 hours, a fine is assessed, he said.
Republic Services, in a written statement to The Daily Advertiser, apologized to customers, explaining the company has had a difficult time recruiting qualified drivers, two drivers were involved in accidents that were not their fault and a few other collection trucks needed routine maintenance.
Last week, the company brought in Republic Blue Crew drivers from Texas for immediate relief and plans to bring in more Texas drivers next week, Jennifer Eldridge, senior communications manager, wrote.
“We expect that this surge in drivers will enable our team in Lafayette to resolve any pending issues by as early as next week,” she wrote.